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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Initial education for academic staff in higher education


9.Teachers and Education Staff

9.4Initial education for academic staff in higher education

Last update: 14 February 2024

University education

Universities are regulated by the provisions established in Organic Law 2/2023 on the University System (LOSU). 

The initial training of university teaching staff in Spain may vary according to the university and the type of position desired, but it generally involves obtaining a doctoral degree and specific training in university teaching that the universities themselves must guarantee in accordance with articles 6.4 and 67 of the LOSU.

Therefore, the model of initial teacher training is a consecutive one. Firstly, prospective university teachers receive general education on specific subjects both in the university degree (University degree/Bachelor's degree) and in the chosen Master's degree and, secondly, they acquire specific training in research (doctoral degree). 

The institutions where future university teachers receive their initial training are the universities or other units competent in terms of research. The institutions can be public or private. 

In addition, there are different types of teaching and research staff contracts with different responsibilities for which different qualifications and therefore different levels of initial training are required. University teaching staff consists of the following groups according to articles 77 to 87 of the LOSU:

  • PhD assistant teachers: universities may contract under this modality individuals who hold a Doctoral Degree without the need for accreditation. This contract can not be maintained, in the same or a different university, for a period of more than six years.
  • Associate professors: universities may contract under this modality specialists and professionals of recognised competence who can accredit that they carry out their main activity outside the university academic sphere when there are specific teaching needs related to their professional field.
  • Emeritus professors: universities, in accordance with their Statutes, may appoint Emeritus Professors from among retired teaching and research staff, whether civil servants or employees, who have provided outstanding services in the field of teaching, research or the transfer and exchange of knowledge and innovation at the same university.
  • Permanent professors: universities may hire under this modality individuals who hold a Doctoral Degree and who have the corresponding accreditation, issued by the ANECA or the quality agencies of the autonomous communities, according to their competences.
  • Visiting professors: universities may hire under this modality lecturers of recognised prestige from other universities and research centres, both Spanish and foreign, who can make a significant contribution to the performance of the university centres.
  • Distinguished professors: universities, as provided for in their Statutes and the selection procedures they establish, may contract under this modality teachers and researchers, both Spanish and foreign, who are developing their academic or research career abroad, and whose excellence and scientific, technological, humanistic or artistic contribution are relevant and internationally recognised, the duration and conditions being determined in accordance with the provisions of Law 14/2011, of 1 June, for the modality of distinguished researcher.

Non-university higher education

Article 2 of Royal Decree 1618/2011 determines that initial education for academic staff in Advanced Vocational Training, or Advanced Vocational Education in Arts and Design or Sports leading to the degree of Advanced Technician, is similar to the initial education for teachers in Lower Compulsory Secondary Education, Bachillerato, Vocational Training and Specialised Education